Interview and Photos by: Zenae Zukowski
Zenae: How long did it take you guys to write Ømni?
Rafael: The ideas for the lyrics, I’ve been keeping them for the past six years. The song, itself, we wrote in one year and a half. We started during the tour, in Europe. We were doing a tour, as an open act, with Tarja, and we were in the dressing room, all the time, messing with the instruments and having fun. ?It wasn’t meant to be a record, or a real thing. It was just us, jamming out. In the end, we were listening to those tapes. We had the core of a few songs.
Zenae: How has the fans responded to the new album so far?
Rafael:The response? I think it’s one of the best. We’re doing, I think, probably our biggest tour, ever. I mean, between 100 concerts, all around the world, and in a period of ten months, or so, we never had … It’s our biggest tour in America. It’s been opening the world, for us. ?People, either the fans or the critics, they like it a lot. ?Very surprised.
Zenae: Yes. It finally brought you guys over here, for a full trek … I believe I’ve read that the album’s concept is about time travel?
Rafael:Yeah. Not only that, but the extension of consciousness, especially of reality. It is actually about a point, here, in time, where reality will widen up for … maybe, probably all of us. We all will be seeing … feeling the part of reality that couldn’t be noticed before. Together with that is the other sense of time. Another sense of our existence beyond time and space that’s the … widen up of this reality is about noticing other parts of our existence, of ourselves, that we didn’t have any consciousness of.
Zenae: I love science fiction and conspiracies.
Rafael: Yeah, all of that. A little bit of everything.
Zenae: Do you believe that time travel exists or what you wrote, could be reality?
Rafael:I do. I mean, I’m not the only one. Many people have been writing about this stuff. I believe that there is a road of communication, and people from different dimensions. But it happens. Not physically, or in words, phrases, like usual communication. Not visually, too.
It’s another way of perceiving. The encounter … It’s on other dimensions. First, you need to really understand reality differently, and also not as concrete, as we see it, a little bit more liquid.
Zenae: I agree. How would you compare the new album to “Secret Garden”?
Rafael: I think every time we have a line up change, it takes a while to really measure out … right? To really get everyone together, synchronize, focusing the same direction. I’d say that “Secret Garden” was more like a transition. We had a new drummer and a new singer.
Now, they’re here for a while with us, but now we have another guitar player. This one, I think, was like the real, new line up. It’s a new moment. We really had to find the new epicenter of the band, find new inspirations, find new ways to relate with the fans. Many things have been changed, for this next album. ?I’d say, it starts the third era of the band.
Zenae: I can see that. You guys had quite a few lineup changes and still surviving.
Rafael: Oh, yeah. That’s the idea. It’s also funny, for the people … It’s fun, for them, to see the same concept being rewritten by different people. The core is the same, but it’s always different people trying to do it. ?I think, in the end … very end, people like to make that variety.
Zenae: You guys did 70000 Tons of Metal with the full new lineup back in 2017, and people seem to have been accepting all of the changes.
Rafael: It was nice, because I think … many people knew about Angra, back there. They never heard about Angra, before. Things sound very fresh for them. ?”I like your guitars, I like your vocalist … ” They like … Man! It was fun, to present the band, more than 20 years later, with a totally different lineup, and people were like, “Oh, this is so new!”
Zenae: I understand that your tour has circulated around ProgPower, but how did you guys finally decide to come to North America for a full run? I don’t think you guys ever had a full North American tour. You had select appearances, but never a tour.
Rafael: Yeah, I think we had this contact, now, got interested on having us, as a booking agent. I think it was an opportunity that we never had before. Maybe the album, only. Maybe all the social media work that we’ve been doing, with YouTube and Facebook stuff.
I don’t know what exactly. I think, in terms of a good crowd here in America, attending to the cultures. People are from everywhere in South America, living here in America. They are attending to the culture, so I think that’s probably why.
Zenae: More bands seem to be retiring, each year as there’s an increase in farewell tours. What are some of your thoughts, in general, about bands retiring?
Rafael: Well, I think there’ll be a very natural wavelength. The big dinosaurs, like Maiden, you see, at one point, they will retire, right? It’s natural. Everyone gets old. Then, it’s like, a bigger amount of bands … of the smaller bands. These smaller bands, they’re also very big.
Then, when they retire, they’ll be like an even bigger amount of smaller bands, you know? Now, it seems like the scene … It’s like, the way entertainment is, today, gives a bigger amount of artists, a bigger amount of bands that will never be as big, like Rolling Stones, or the Beatles, or Maiden, and others.
It will happen. I hate some of them will die, some of them … I mean, young guys commit suicide, and I hate it.
Zenae: There’s been a lot and it’s very sad.
Rafael: I hate that. I get so sad. Last time, last one was Chris Cornell. I got so sad when I heard the news, I started to cry, because … I’m a fan. Not only because of it. When an artist kills themselves, it’s a lot of … There’s a notion of hope dying for the whole of humanity, so it’s very sad.
Zenae: Moving past the sadness, for fun, if you could make a film out of any Angra album, which one would it be?
Rafael:I see two of them. ?I see Temple of Shadows, is pretty much a film, and I’d love to see Ømni turned into a film. I had the whole idea, here in my head. I think it’s very unique. It’s nice. It’s got a little bit of everything: drama, science fiction, romance, and also good messages for people. I think it would be a good movie. ?Hopefully, I have fans that want to help me with this.
Zenae: I can exactly see Ømni, there’s a lot of science fiction in that one and that’s what’s in, right now.
Rafael: ?I’m working on a comic novel. At this point, I’m waiting for someone. I’m talking to people. Artists, I have a few interested. People who will help me write the script. I always got them. ?Artistic side wouldn’t be a problem. The problem will be finding time to dedicate to it, but I need the business side. I need some publisher… because it’s an area that I don’t have any expertise. I definitely need help on this, publishing it, distributing it, advertising. It’s a whole different market than music.
Zenae: Of course.
Rafael: I mean, it’s the crowd … It’s very much the same. Lots of our fans are into it. I’m pretty much sure that it would be a success, at least among our fans.
Zenae: Anything is possible. There’s self-publishing on Amazon, there’ options.
Rafael: Yeah, you’re right.
Zenae: Is there anything else that you want to add, or say to your fans?
Rafael: I’d say that I’m very thankful to be here, in the US, during this 32. It’s a huge moment for us. 100 concerts all over the world. Always honored to play here, in New York. It’s the circuit for thousands. Probably, tonight, we’ll have many other great, awesome bands doing their gigs, around there. It’s all moving along. Thank you for supporting us.